Cleaning Enhancements and Requirements: Questions and answers

EMPLOYEES WILL NEED TO CLEAN WORKSPACES

Following the Flashes Safe Eight principles, and as part of the university’s reopening plan, custodial staff have and continue to systematically clean buildings, classrooms and of spaces. If you have work materials or personal items on the surfaces in your office, those areas are  not cleaned. You will need to clean those areas yourself before you use them.

Our custodial staff continue to clean all spaces that are accessible to employees as well as the public. These spaces include but are not limited to waiting rooms, seating areas in corridors, conference rooms and bathrooms. In classrooms, instructors are responsible for cleaning their workspace (e.g., podium, keyboard, camera, table). Supplies are available at the entrance to each classroom for student use.

All of the office suites have cleaning supplies available for employee use. If you work on the Kent campus and do not want your office cleaned by custodial staff, then contact Todd Burdette at tburdet @kent.edu (mailto:tburdet @kent.edu) to opt out of any custodial staff cleaning. Employees managing reception counters will need to clean the counter/high-touch surfaces after each guest. Employees who share spaces that are not accessible to the public (e.g., break rooms, copy rooms, supply rooms) are expected to sanitize contact areas in these spaces after each use.

Disinfecting wipes are available through Flashtrack.

If you need disinfecting wipes for your office area, please order them through Flashtrack.

HOW DO I ORDER CLEANING SUPPLIES FOR THE CLASSROOMS IN MY COLLEGE? 

You do not need to place an order for cleaning supplies for the classrooms in your college. University Facilities Management (UFM) and custodial staff at the Regional Campuses and the College of Podiatric Medicine will provide the surface disinfectant for each classroom and replenish them as needed.

ARE PAPER TOWELS BETTER TO DRY YOUR HANDS WITH THAN AIR HAND DRYERS?

The CDC recommends drying by either paper towels or air dryers. Using either method, it is recommended that hands be dried thoroughly to reduce the spread of contamination.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAND SANITIZERS THAT ARE ON THE MARKET?

Unless hands are visibly soiled, an alcohol-based hand rub is preferred over soap and water in most clinical situations due to evidence of better compliance compared to soap and water. Hand rubs are generally less irritating to hands and are effective in the absence of a sink.

Due to increased sales of isopropyl alcohol-based sanitizers, making them hard to find, most hand sanitizers are ethyl alcohol based, which is the same alcohol used for consumption.

Buyer beware, as percentages can vary. It is important to check the label.

Recently, hand sanitizers have made their way to the market with methanol, a toxic substance that can be absorbed through the skin. The Food and Drug Administration has published a list of banned hand sanitizers.

HOW WILL BATHROOMS BE CLEANED?

All bathrooms will be cleaned daily with an EPA approved disinfectant that kills COVID-19.

HOW OFTEN ARE PUBLIC SPACES (WATER FOUNTAINS, BATHROOMS, GENERAL SPACE, ETC.) BEING CLEANED? 

Water fountains and bottle filling stations have turned on and will be cleaned daily.

AIR QUALITY AND CIRCULATION, KENT STATE’S HVAC COVID-19 RESPONSE

In response to COVID-19, the university is following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) as it relates to the effects of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems on disease transmission in the workplace.   

Per the CDC, organizations must “Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air.”  ASHRAE further notes, “principles of social distancing (1 to 2 m or 3 to 6.5 ft), surface cleaning and disinfection, hand-washing and other strategies of good hygiene are far more important than anything related to the HVAC system.” In addition, ASHRAE supports improved filtration and increased ventilation with outdoor air where reasonable as measures to reduce the risk of transmission of an airborne virus. While the primary focus should be on social distancing and personal hygiene, Kent State University is proceeding with increasing the amount of outdoor air brought into buildings where sensible, which will have a beneficial effect on indoor air quality (IAQ) during COVID-19. In addition, HVAC systems will also be run in normal occupancy mode each day for a minimum of two hours after the last building activity to further dilute indoor spaces with outdoor air. 

Some questions have come up regarding air filtration and MERV values (MERV=Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The type of air filters currently installed varies based on age and type of air handling unit (AHU). Currently KSU utilizes air filters with a rating range of MERV 8 to MERV 12. Using a MERV 13 or greater filter media, which is considered a high-ranking air filter, would reduce the particle size able to pass through the AHU and back to the space. Larger virus particles could be captured by the enhanced media filter. Due to catching finer particles, using a MERV 13 or greater rated filter would require more frequent replacement and the increased cost does not support their minimal advantage. Existing AHU fans also cannot overcome the increased pressure from higher MERV filters. Our filters are typically replaced quarterly unless more outside air and excessive pressure mandates more frequent replacement. As noted above, one recommended method to combat pollution is dilution, or increasing outside air when practical. Any changes to the filters, filter banks, filter changing frequency or operating parameters will greatly increase our operating cost, with questionable impact on the spread of COVID-19.

Most buildings on campus have been operating with temperatures adjusted to save energy during the largely unoccupied COVID-19 closure period since March 16, 2020. As staff and students return to campus, buildings will be adjusted for proper occupied temperature and air flow to maximize safety and system performance during our response to COVID-19.

All HVAC concerns for a facility should be brought to the attention of the Building Curator and entered in Flash Track to be addressed by University Facilities Management (UFM).  For questions about Regional Campuses and the College of Podiatric Medicine please contact your facility managers.

Another HVAC technology KSU is using at many dining facilities, athletic facilities, select lecture rooms, select Residence Halls, elevator cabs and all instructional spaces is needlepoint bipolar ionization (NPBI).  The devices are installed in select main air handling units, small room HVAC units, in portable rolling fan units, and in elevator cabs of 5-stops or more and select others such as DeWeese Health Center elevator.  The devices discharge low power positive and negative ions which are then distributed by the fans into the rooms.  The ions do not produce ozone and do not adversely affect indoor air quality. This technology has been proven to inactivate up to 99.4% of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (current COVID-19) virus after 30 minutes of exposure.  This is NOT in place of the Flashes Safety principles, but is another tool being used to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This technology is being installed at the Cleveland Clinic and many other institutions. Learn more at: https://globalplasmasolutions.com/ 

Questions About Use of Face Coverings

Please refer to the Flashes Safety Principles regarding facial coverings.   Note that facial covering requirements may change.  Therefore, you should be aware of the Facial Covering and Physical Distancing Guidelines.

ARE THERE TIPS FOR CHOOSING A FACE COVERING?

If I am interested in face coverings beyond the one provided to me by Kent State, what should I consider? When selecting a face covering and verifying best practices for how to wear a face covering, please see this CDC web page. Per the CDC, bandanas are not suitable face coverings as they are too thin and too loose to provide the needed protection.